Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sensationalism drowning out questions from local taxpayers

The Hackensack City Council and city manager are reviewing proposals to privatize sanitation pickup for a projected savings of $850,000 a year. Officials also may hire a public relations firm, Vision Media of Secaucus, to promote downtown redevelopment at an undisclosed cost. The Record hasn't covered those issues or asked why Board of Education President Jason Nunnermacker, below in hoodie, falsely claimed the school budget cut local property taxes. 


Today, the desperate editors of The Record exploit the anguish of a mother -- who suspected her son committed anti-Semitic acts -- to sell newspapers and distract readers searching in vain for local news.

Large photos of a tearful Denise Rivas, mother of Lodi defendant Anthony Graziano, are splashed all over Page 1 and the continuation page in the kind of sensational trial coverage you'd expect to see in a trashy tabloid (A-1 and A-8).

Local news?

On the Local news front today, Editor Deirdre Sykes continues to scramble, grabbing at crime news, a college graduation, animal-rights activists and the expansion of the Islamic Center of Passaic County (L-1).

In fact, there is so little local news from Hackensack and many other towns, Sykes had to plug a huge hole (half of a newspaper page) with a Dean's List (L-6) -- a crutch she has used for many years.

Meanwhile, the business editors couldn't find enough news in Bergen and Passaic counties, so they ran with the closing of the Saks Fifth Avenue store at the Short Hills mall -- far out of the circulation area (L-7).

Wednesday's paper

On Wednesday's front page, transportation writer Christopher Maag tried to whip readers into a frenzy over "waste" and "lapses in security" at Newark Liberty International Airport.

And Port Authority reporter Paul Berger threw crumbs to long-suffering commuters who ride buses to and from Manhattan on the completion of a new midtown terminal (2023 to 2026).

Berger is another in a long line of Record reporters who decline to question officials running the massive bi-state agency on their refusal to add exclusive bus lanes at the Lincoln Tunnel or expand PATH service to Bergen County.

On the Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski dredged up a 2008 incident, but the introduction was so long and boring, readers fell asleep before he made the point that "driving drowsy" is as dangerous as drunk driving.

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